Homeowners Tip: Mortgage information & enrollment workshops

Daughter on mom's shoulders in front of homeAre you having a hard time making your mortgage payments on time? Did you receive a notice on your door about foreclosure and you’re not sure what to do next? Are you current on your mortgage but feeling nervous about your ability to continue to make payments on time? Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of applying for a loan modification and want to make sure you do everything right?

If you’re a homeowner who is worried about your mortgage payments, come to one of our Mortgage Information & Enrollment Workshops! This month, these workshops will be held on Wednesday, May 14th & Wednesday, May 28th from 6-8pm at Solid Ground (1501 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103).

At the workshop, you will have an opportunity to connect with other homeowners in similar situations and learn about:

Additionally, you will have a chance to ask questions and complete your enrollment packet, which includes the documents that lenders require to apply for any loss mitigation option. We know that working with your lender to prevent foreclosure can often be an intimidating and overwhelming task. We are here to make that process go more smoothly for you by facilitating timely and clear communication between you and your lender. While we cannot guarantee you a certain outcome, since everyone’s circumstances are different, we will work hard with you to find the best possible solution to your housing crisis.

To register for one of our Mortgage Information &  Enrollment Workshops, please call 206.694.6766 or email housingcounseling@solid-ground.org.

There is no charge for the class or for Solid Ground services.

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Homeowners Tip: Notice of Pre-Foreclosure Options

Foreclosure signThe Foreclosure Fairness Act went into effect in its current form in July 2012. The better-known component of this legislation is mediation, which can only be requested by an attorney or housing counselor and only after a homeowner receives a Notice of Default. The lesser-known part of the law is that homeowners have options before the Notice of Default and mediation.

If you miss payments on your mortgage, lenders can issue what is called a Notice of Pre-Foreclosure Options (NOPFO). When you are late on your mortgage payment, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the letters and paperwork your lender sends. But if you don’t open and read everything, you may miss an important opportunity to work with your lender and buy yourself some time to avoid foreclosure. This notice can be easy to miss because you will actually not see these words on the first page. Instead the first page will say “Important Rights for Homeowners.”

The notice gives you the right to request a meeting with your lender – referred to as a “meet and confer” session – to discuss options to avoid foreclosure. Unlike mediation, a there is no neutral third party involved, and borrowers can request the meeting themselves. In addition to allowing for the meet and confer, this notice can also extend the foreclosure process by another 60 days.

Simply receiving the notice doesn’t guarantee you these rights. They are only available if you respond to the NOPFO within 30 days of the date listed on the notice. The notice will give you two ways to request the meeting, either in writing or by phone. We suggest that you respond in writing by certified mail so you have a record of it. Here’s some sample language you can use to write your own letter.

Your lender should contact you to schedule a meeting after they receive your response to the NOPFO. The best way to use this time is to submit your loan modification request beforehand so the lender has a chance to review it. This allows the meeting to focus on your specific situation, rather than just general options. Solid Ground’s housing counselors can help you prepare this packet for submission and represent you at the meet and confer session.

The meeting may result in a decision about eligibility for a loan modification or other options, or the lender may outline additional documents needed for review. If there is no agreement reached at this meeting, the lender can continue with the foreclosure process and issue a Notice of Default.

 If you have questions about this or any mortgage related issue, you can contact us at 206.694.6766 or by email at housingcounseling@solid-ground.org. Solid Ground is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and provides mortgage counseling at no cost. Visit our Mortgage Services webpage for more information.

A message of thanks to our supporters

During the past year, you have helped Solid Ground expand efforts to end poverty for local families and individuals and move them toward stability. You helped us:

Brettler Family Place

Open Brettler Family Place…
providing 51 formerly homeless families with permanent housing and supportive services. Brettler Family Place is now a vibrant community of over 120 children and their parents. It is a place of stability, security and hope. We break ground to build an additional 54 homes in 2013!

A work party at Seattle Community Farm, June 2011

Seattle Community Farm, June 2011

Raise our first crops…
at the Seattle Community Farm, bringing fresh organic produce to people in the Rainier Valley who did not have access to affordable, healthy produce. The Farm is pioneering a work-trade volunteer model that values the talents and contributions of the community members who receive this nutritious food.

Launch the groundbreaking Pathway to Career AmeriCorps team…
which melds our national community service model with intensive work readiness training to help disadvantaged youth overcome barriers to success.

Break down barriers to homeless prevention services…
for immigrant and other marginalized communities by building intentional partnerships with community-based organizations that enable people to access services in a direct, culturally-sensitive and efficient manner.

Lead the statewide advocacy effort to pass the Foreclosure Fairness Bill…
giving consumers a mediation tool that results in fewer repossessed houses and more people staying in their homes.

These efforts and other improvements in our programs mean that Solid Ground will help more people than ever before in 2011.

But we need to do even more to heal the traumas caused by homelessness and hunger, and stabilize our community. To that end, we are looking ahead to implementing more comprehensive wrap-around services, giving the people who come to us even more tools and resources to be successful.

We are proud of our history of taking innovative action in response to community needs. Right now, we are focusing our passion for progressive social change on strategies that will increase our impact with the people we serve, so that we can meet them wherever they are and support them until they thrive.

Solid Ground's Continuum of Care

Solid Ground envisions a more comprehensive continuum of care, connecting our program participants to resources inside our doors as well as those outside. We look forward to sharing details with you in the coming year.

Since our early days as an emergency services provider in a little northend neighborhood, we have relied on the passion, creativity and financial support of caring people to counter poverty in our community. For over 38 years, donors and volunteers like you have helped our community weather the economic storms, build upon our strengths, and bring hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and friends to solid ground.

Most importantly, you joined with us to help build a strong community by giving over 64,000 vulnerable people support and opportunities to thrive.

On behalf of everyone at Solid Ground, thank you!

You can continue to support Solid Ground through our online donation portal.

Get Up, Stand Up!

While the budget crisis has gotten most of the press from the 2011 legislative session in Olympia, there are also some important bills that need your support to give homeowners facing foreclosure a fair chance at staying in their homes, and to bolster protections against predatory lending that were passed last year.

Foreclosure Fairness Act
Our housing counselors report that one of the biggest barriers faced by homeowners threatened with foreclosure is the extreme difficulty of getting whoever owns the loan to discuss modification options. What used to take a few phone calls and a few hours to work out can now stretch out over months of calls, and many forms of delay. This brief video on the Foreclosure Fairness Act dramatizes how consumers are being stonewalled. Please check it out and post the link on Facebook and other social networks to attract attention to the issue!

The Foreclosure Fairness Act (SB 5275 and HB1362) would mandate that banks, or whoever holds the loan, must offer face-to-face mediation with homeowners. In the 23 states and municipalities that have mandatory mediation, 60% of homeowners in foreclosure are able to stay in their homes! The banking industry is trying to strip the mandatory mediation out of the bill, which will take away its most important tool. Please contact your state Senator and Representatives and urge them to support the Foreclosure Fairness Act and to keep mandatory mediation in the bill!

You can use this web form to email your legislators in support of the Foreclosure Fairness Act.

Keep Protections against Predatory Lending
Last year the Legislature enacted law to protect Washington State residents from predatory lending. This year the banking industry is fighting back with two bills that would strip away crucial consumer protections. Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose these bills: HB 1678 and SB 5547.

You can use this web form to email your legislators to oppose gutting protections against predatory lending.

To find out who your Senator and Representatives are, go to Statewide Poverty Action Network and look for the zip code tool on the top of the page.

Tear down the wall between banks and homeowners facing foreclosure

The Foreclosure Fairness Act currently working its way through the Washington State Legislature gives homeowners facing foreclosure a valuable tool in the struggle to keep their homes. For more on the problem/solution, check out this video.

Legislators need to know that you support this bill!

Contact Statewide Poverty Action Network, call 1.866.789.7726, or email Danielle Friedman to take action to support The Foreclosure Fairness Act.

Tear down the wall!

 

Mortgage counselor Marita DeLeon knocks down the wall between lenders and homeowners.

Mortgage counselor Marita DeLeon knocks down the wall between lenders and homeowners.

Thanks!

 

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